Grace Venture Partners

Startup Creation Platform for Overlooked Innovation

A start-up studio and early-stage healthcare investor that combines a deep ecosystem with a unique investment thesis and a critical social mission.

Our Business Creation Platform

Start-Up Studio

Offer resources to start-ups for up to 24 months to de-risk the investment process.

Early Stage Investment

Select opportunistic investments to expand the ecosystem with leading diverse founders.

Innovation Partners

We partner with leading healthcare organizations to accelerate their digital transformation in overlooked areas of innovation that address health disparities.

7

Fully operating companies designed, launched, and grown.

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$25M+

Raised for Grace Venture Partners Portfolio Companies.

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90+

People employed by Grace Venture Partners portfolio companies.

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Our Portfolio

A research & development company whose lead program is an antidote for various non-opioid drug overdoses and poisonings.
A developmental stage biotechnology company focused on creating products that utilize nanoparticle technology to restore blood volume after heavy bleeding.

A biotech company focused on finding a cure for the skin depigmentation disease, Vitiligo.

Software that improves patient engagement and outcomes by enabling the chronically ill to monitor their health and connect to their medical providers.
A genetic cancer risk assessment software which helps healthcare providers use genetic information to predict, preempt, and prevent cancer across populations.

A Biotechnology company developing next-generation injectable products for the treatment of degenerative diseases and injuries.

A preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing cannabis-based medicines for FDA approval.

The Process

Our Deep Ecosystem

GVP has a broad network of experienced entrepreneurs, research partners and corporate sponsorship.

Our Unique Investment Thesis

We focus on “Overlooked Innovation” – technologies and related solutions that significantly impact minorities and/or improve health equity.

Our Social Mission

GVP aims to increase African-American talent in health startups via investments and entrepreneur-in-residence program.

Hands-On Approach

We actively manage both biotech & digital healthcare assets to most efficiently address unmet medical and societal needs.

Our Team

Paul Burton, JD, MBA

General Partner, Biotechnology

Sharon Ray

General Partner, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Lyle Berkowitz, MD

General Partner, Digital Healthcare

Starr Green

Administrative Assistant

Elsie Oyoo

Venture Capital Analyst

Paul Burton, JD, MBA

General Partner, Biotechnology
Through Burton Advisory, Inc. Paul Burton provides strategic and financial advice to healthcare companies drawing from over 20 years of experience in corporate finance and strategic advisory in fortune 500 companies.

Experience

Since December 2018, Paul has been the CEO of Akan Biosciences, a biotech startup developing regenerative medicinal therapeutics. Through Burton Advisory, he also advises early stage biotech as well as some digital healthcare companies such as Temprian Therapeutics, Schedule1, Cancer IQ, Care Advisors and 4D Healthware.
Additionally, Paul is currently an Entrepreneur In Residence at Northwestern University supporting students and faculty with healthcare oriented commercialization projects.
Previously, he was the CEO of ResQ Pharma, Inc. from July 2015 through December 2018. Similarly, he co-founded Vivacelle Bio, Inc. and was employed as its CFO and a member of its Board of Directors (BOD) from 2012 through 2015.
Paul is a Member of MATTER, a Chicago based healthcare incubator and the Bunker Labs, an Incubator started in Chicago for U.S. military veterans.
Paul started his professional career after law and business school as an investment banking associate at Salomon Brothers (now Citigroup Corporate & Investment Bank) in New York. Prior to grad school he served as a United States Regular Army Commissioned Officer (Infantry). While an undergraduate student Paul worked as a lab assistant at UIC’s Medical School Pharmacology Department, earning three co-authorships for research published in peer-reviewed journals.

Education

Paul earned his JD and MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned two Bachelor’s Degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sharon Ray

General Partner, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Sharon Ray is a global Chief Human Resource Officer and leader with over 20 years’ experience.

Experience

Sharon is the founder/CEO of S. Thompson & Associates, a consultancy that partners with Senior leadership teams to develop and optimize HR strategies and practices to help achieve their growth goals.
Sharon serves as Head of People and Operations at Cancer IQ, a genetic cancer risk assessment software firm. She has also served as the head of HR at Panopta, which was acquired in December 2020. Additionally, she served as Chief People Officer at Solstice.
Prior to that, Sharon served as Vice President of Human Resources for healthcare company Emmi Solutions, LLC. In that role, she built the human resources function, developing the HR infrastructure to provide strategic direction for the organization. During her 11.5 tenure, Sharon’s contributions resulted in Emmi Solutions’ acquisition by Wolters Kluwer for $170 million in 2016.

Education

Sharon earned a Degree in Communications from Morehead State University.

Lyle Berkowitz, MD

General Partner, Digital Healthcare

Dr. Berkowitz is an active healthcare advisor and investor with over 25 years experience as a primary care physician, an informatician, a healthcare innovator and a health tech entrepreneur.

Experience

Previous roles include serving as Director of Innovation at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago; founder and Chairman of healthfinch; Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Product at MDLIVE; and founder/advisor to multiple other digital health companies over the years.
He currently sits on the board of Oneview Healthcare and is Editor-in-Chief for Telehealth and Medicine. He has served on multiple national boards in the past, including the Innovation Learning Network (ILN), the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation.
He has been listed as one of HealthLeader’s “Twenty People Who Make Healthcare Better”; Healthspottr’s “Future Health Top 100”, and Modern Healthcare’s “Top 25 Clinical Informaticists”.
He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. He has been elected to Fellowship in both the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Education

Dr. Berkowitz received his Biomedical Engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania, his Medical Degree from the University of Illinois and did his Internal Medicine residency program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL.

Starr Green

Administrative Assistant

Starr is a creative problem solver with over twenty years of administrative assisting experience.

Experience

Calm and patient, she enjoys varied work responsibilities in a team or independently. The breadth of knowledge she has gained provides the benefit of a strong background in office organization & time management.

Elsie Oyoo

Venture Capital Analyst
Elsie Oyoo is a venture capital analyst with Grace Venture Partners, LLC. She is a certified corporation secretary in Kenya and advocate of the High Court of Kenya, with over six years’ experience. She has served as the deputy corporation secretary of a Kenyan state-owned entity in which role she has given legal and policy advice to the Board of Directors and Senior Management team.

Experience

Elsie started off her career at the Commercial and Employment Law Practice Group of DLA Piper Kenya (Iseme, Kamau and Maema Advocates) and was mentioned in the legal directory, IP Stars in 2017 for her work on trademarks. She also formed part of the legal team that advised one of the largest banks in East Africa on a rights issue.

Education

She undertook her LL.M. (Master of Laws in Corporate and Commercial Law) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she won the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Professional Responsibility. She also has a post graduate diploma in law from the Kenya School of Law and an LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) from the University of Nairobi. In her free time, she mentors female law students from her first alma mater, the University of Nairobi.